When I look back now, I can see that many signs were there. For example, just before my diagnosis, I gained weight and my vision quickly deteriorated. At the time, I'd recently received a new eyeglass prescription, and I was surprised to find it was already out of date.
When my doctor told me I had Type 2 diabetes, it was a wake up call for me to make some important lifestyle changes.
I have the early stages of Type 2 diabetes, which means I don't need pills or needles to control my blood sugar level – at least not for now. To maintain the status quo, I've made some important changes:
At parties and other social functions, I used to wonder about portion sizes. Was one sausage roll okay? What about two? That sort of thing. But I now have a strategy that works well for me:
As for beverages, I wasn't a big fan of beer, wine and other alcoholic drinks prior to my diagnosis, so they aren't things I worry about now. But I do have a sweet tooth when it comes to tea and coffee. I used to take lots of sugar in my hot drinks. Now, I use artificial sweeteners. That was an easy transition.
This will be my third year since my diagnosis – and I'm learning to adapt certain traditions to suit my healthier way of eating.
For example, last year instead of making traditional holiday mashed potatoes, I mashed cauliflower with a little margarine – this dish is much lower in carbohydrate. It became an instant holiday hit with my family. Likewise, we had spaghetti squash instead of sweet potatoes – another tasty substitution that is healthier for me. These and other veggies have become my favourites, they don’t send my blood sugar soaring plus I have room for dessert!
Colleagues, family and friends also go out of their way to make things easier for me. At social functions, they bring foods I can enjoy without worry – like dips made with low-fat yogurt instead of sour cream.
Prior to my diagnosis, I was very fond of baking. Now, I look forward to trying new recipes that work with my meal plan. Perhaps I'll even learn how to adapt some of my old favourites by using less fat and sugar.
Since my diagnosis, I've made many lifestyle changes – and becoming more creative in the kitchen is certainly one of them.
At the time of my diagnosis, I had very helpful advice from my doctor and a dietitian. But I'm always interested in learning more about diabetes, and the Internet is a great place to connect. I know I can count on Kraft and their online Diabetes Centre for recipes (kraftcanada.com/diabetes). Plus, there's no guesswork since the nutrition information is right there.
I want to live life to the fullest for many years to come – so I'm doing everything I can to take care of my health today.